Published 21st November, 2012 by Razorbill
The Future of Us is set in a time long, long ago – before facebook or the thousand other social networking sites were created – 1996. It centres around Emma and Josh – two teens who used to be really good friends, until one of them did something that made their friendship really awkward. One day, they manage to log onto their facebook accounts from fifteen years into the future. After some initial confusion about what exactly they are looking at (“Why do you have your own website? Are you famous or something?”), they discover that everything they do now causes stuff in their future to change. Emma becomes obsessed with trying to fix what she thinks is wrong with her future (mainly a less than happy marriage), but Josh is quite pleased with the fact that he will be married to the most popular girl in school in fifteen years time.
Update Your Destiny
With a fantastic premise and two great young adult authors, you’d probably think that The Future of Us is bound to be incredible. In reality, it’s okay. There’s actually not much substance there and Emma is really quite annoying. But it’s a quick read with short chapters (alternating between Josh and Emma’s perspectives), so if you read it and hate it, at least you haven’t wasted much time.
There are some good points about facebook that I enjoyed. Josh points out Emma’s three hundred and twenty friends and says, “Who has three hundred and twenty friends?!” Obviously, we all understand the difference between true friends and social network friends, but two kids from the nineties certainly wouldn’t, and I still think it’s a valid point. Another good one is the fact that we share so much stuff on our pages:
Emma Nelson Jones: Can’t even afford a decent therapist. Monday at 8:37pm.Like.Comment.
Josh turns to me. “I can’t believe she’s writing these things.”
“Not she,” I say. “Me.”
“Why would anyone say this stuff about themselves on the internet? It’s crazy!”
“Exactly,” I say. “I’m going to be mentally ill in fifteen years.”
When I was a kid, you would never put a photo of yourself with your full name anywhere online (I learned that in school one day). And with all that extra information about yourself? It’s pretty insane when you think about it (now I sound like my mum).
Anyway, this is supposed to be a review of a book, not a discussion about facebook. The thing is, I don’t actually have a lot to say about The Future of Us. It’s a snack, rather than a wholesome meal.
I loved Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, but I’ve only read one of Carolyn Mackler’s other novels, which I liked. This was probably more her style, so I’d recommend this book to fans of hers, rather than fans of Jay Asher.